From color schemes to textural layering tips.
8 Stylish Dorm Rooms to Inspire a Makeover
From color schemes to textural layering tips.
In many ways, a dorm room can feel symbolic of entering a new stage in life. It’s the first ‘home’ outside of your family’s and an entry point into adulthood. The dorm room is, arguably, your first real opportunity to think about who you are as a person and how your taste manifests in a physical space. Of course, there will be many, many years ahead to develop these design sensibilities, so why not use this time to experiment and have fun with the (likely) very small amount of square footage that you’re working with?
Thankfully, giving your dorm room a makeover doesn’t require a massive budget. If you develop a vision, create a mood board, and decide which pieces you already own that can be used and which ones need to be added in, the process will go much smoother. Ahead, dive into eight stylish dorm rooms spotted on Pinterest that are sure to spark inspiration. See which aesthetics resonate best with your interests and use that as a springboard to kickstart your makeover.
There’s no denying the appeal of nostalgia (especially when it nods to the ‘70s). If your style tends to skew retro, why not continue the theme into your dorm room? Look for furniture pieces like bamboo nightstands or a wooden bookshelf that can double as a headboard. For more texture, add in light fixtures like a rattan lamp. To finish, a hanging plant and a piece of artwork or record player should do the trick.
There’s no getting around the fact that dorm rooms are cramped for space, at best. If you’re not able to incorporate your favorite furniture pieces, turn to color to express your personality. Begin with bedding—test the waters with the Scandinavian trend of using two duvets instead of one, each in a different color. Incorporate a third hue via pillowcases and you’ll have a creative, cozy color palette to rest in each night. Other ways to incorporate color include a tall stack of books, a few live plants, and a colorful bedside water carafe (we love these ones).
When you’re limited on square footage, one of the best ways to store more stuff is by creating vertical space. Hang a few frames above your bed and continue up the wall to install a long shelf. Here, you can store things like school books, a few potted plants with their tendrils hanging down, and tchotchkes from travels. And since all of that will take up a good part of the wall, keep your bedding clean and simple so as not to overwhelm the room (a crisp white or delicate sand tone always looks nice).
You might think of the Cottagecore trend as puff sleeves and whimsical dresses, but the aesthetic can translate to home quite nicely as well. Imbue your dorm room with this pastoral look by way of pastels and delicate prints, twinkly lights, and soft textures. A gallery wall is a great place to start—look for illustrations set on backdrops of pale pink or baby blue, and add in something like a vintage bronze mirror. Bedside, keep a bouquet of fresh flowers on display and incorporate a simple lamp that won’t compete with the theme. Toss a few fuzzy pillows on top of your bed for a romantic finish.
If clean and simple is your MO, introduce a modern minimalist theme to your dorm room. Beginning with the bed, go for a mix of neutrals, like Oatmeal, Stripe, or White. From there, incorporate furniture with clean lines, and a few accent pieces like a large print or tall plant. Finally, choose a rug in a pop of color (olive green or ballet slipper pink are both smart picks) to give cohesion to the space. By adding in these subtle touches, the end result will read minimalist, not boring.
Those with a green thumb already know: bringing live plants into your personal space is a game-changer. Lean into this philosophy by adding several varied plants to your dorm room and curating a decor scheme around that. Once you’ve picked out your greenery, bring in neutral-hued pieces like a duvet, lamp shade, and textural accents. Clear glassware also meshes well with this scheme, as do mirrors with wood frames. This environment proves especially useful on long days of studying when you can’t get outside, but still need to feel like you’re in nature.
Sometimes the best approach to crafting a stylish dorm room that feels impactful but not overpowering is by relying on one statement piece. In this case, a graphic rug is the perfect investment piece as you can bring it to your next apartment when you move out. Moroccan rugs tend to incorporate vibrant, saturated colors and pair well with neutral tones and natural textures like wood and ceramic (or even a statement succulent like the cactus).
If you describe your personal taste as laid back, no need to fuss with your dorm space. Keep it cool and simple by channeling a surf town vibe. Begin with a white duvet and accent the blank palette with light wood textures (storage crates look especially coastal). From there, pin a few of your favorite prints up on the wall sans frames and create a couple of stylish book stacks around the room with plants placed on top.
Here are some more inspiring decorative ideas for your space.